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Williams sisters end Russians' run

Serena and Venus William prepare to play a point against Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova in the second round.
by Benjamin Snyder
Wednesday 4 July 2012

A day after completing her quarter-final match against Petra Kvitova for a spot in the final four, Serena Williams paired up with sister Venus twice during Day 9 action to advance to the final eight in the Ladies’ Doubles at the All England Club.

In their second match on the No.2 Court, the Williamses knocked out the No.13 seeds Sania Mirza and Bethanie Mattek-Sands in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.

Previously during the day, the sisters rallied to claim a three-set win over fellow singles quarter-finalist Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova in a match suspended for days. The team from the United States was victorious 3-6, 6-3, 9-7.

The sisters started off solidly in their third-round match over the Brussels titlists, Mattek-Sands and Mirza, by claiming the early break as the Indian’s forehand sailed out. Four routine holds commenced until the older Williams lofted a forehand volley long and found herself down 0-15. Serena next committed a net error, while the game finished with a return winner off an opponent’s racket.

On Mattek-Sands’s serve in the very next game, however, the Williams sisters showcased the form that has won them two Olympic gold medals together to break right back with Serena pinning Mirza back by hitting a volley toward her.

Up 5-4 after two successful holds from Mirza and Serena, Venus found herself with the pressure of serving for the set. Impervious to nerve, the American claimed the game with an ace.

In the second set, three consecutive holds kept the score at 2-1 for Mattek-Sands and Mirza. This time, however, Venus lost the edge on her serve that had helped her notch the 6-4 win in the first. Despite blasting two aces by her opponents, she committed a double fault and an unforced error. Mattek-Sands converted the opportunity allotted by Venus’ erratic play and successfully hit a volley winner for the break and the 3-1 lead.

Despite carrying the momentum with a run of two straight games, the team of Mattek-Sands and Mirza would ultimately fail to win another game for the remainder of the match. The Williams pairiing, the more aggressive of the teams, struck 10 winners to four to take the second set 6-3 with five consecutive games. Additionally, Venus recorded a tournament record 121mph serve during the match.

Earlier on the No.2 Court, the sisters teamed against Kirilenkoand Petrova for a second-round match as rain delays and play for Serena and Kirilenko in the Ladies’ Singles event prevented it from occurring earlier in the week. The match resumed on Day 9 with the sisters tied against their Russian opponents at one set apiece.

Early in the third set, Serena seemed the stronger of the two sisters as she blasted winners, while the unforced errors flew from Venus’s racket. The former top-ranked doubles team in 2010, and 12-time Grand Slam champions, looked close to losing the match when Venus lost her serve by double faulting three straight times. With that, Kirilenko and Petrova earned the edge at 3-1. In the next game, with Petrova serving, the older Williams struck a return error to have her team fall behind 4-1. 

Showing the confidence of a five-time former champion on the grass of the All England Club, however, Venus improved her form on serve to easily hold and get to 4-2. A Kirilenko double fault at deuce gave the sisters a chance to break. Venus successfully converted the opportunity by striking a powerful forehand return, which left Kirilenko scrambling and ultimately failing to put a ball back in play. 

Serena’s serve, which has proved essential during her run to the semi-finals in the singles event, was on display as she earned errors from her opponents to level the match at 4-all. Six straight holds of serve followed to bring the score to 7-all. The last hold, by Venus, was punctuated with the 31-year old striking an ace, one of 10 for the team. 

With Kirilenko serving, a Serena angled drop volley off the forehand wing earned the Americans a quick 0-15 lead. Afterwards, powerful returns from the sisters took the score to 0-40. Closing out the game, Serena aimed a swinging backhand volley by Petrova’s head to cement their lead, 8-7. 

Serving for the match, Serena struck three aces to close out a victory as the sisters seek a fourth Wimbledon doubles title.

The two wins on Day 9 next set up a match against compatriots and the tournament’s No.10 seeds Raquel Koppel-Jones and Abigail Spears for a spot in the semi-finals against top seeds Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond, also of the United States.

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